More From Teen Wattpad Writers From The Common Room Anthology

The complete COMMON ROOM anthology, written by Wattpad teen writers and edited by the Freshman Fifteens, will be released on Wattpad on January 27, 2015. For more on the project, check out our previous posts.

Before you read their fantastic stories, we wanted to introduce you to these talented writers. Last week, we highlighted the first five of our COMMON ROOM authors, and this week, we bring you five more. Next week’s post will focus on the remaining five writers in our lead-up to COMMON ROOM’s release.

Get to know them and their other work on Wattpad and be sure to show your support and read COMMON ROOM on January 27!

Grace Becker, author of LOCKED OUT (Wattpad username: GracieBecker73)

Mentors: Lori Goldstein, author of BECOMING JINN, releasing April 21, 2015, from Macmillan’s Feiwel and Friends, and Virginia Boecker, author of THE WITCH HUNTER, releasing June 2, 2015, from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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About me:

I am a fourteen-year-old girl who loves to read, sing, and write. When I’m not writing, I am participating in Show Choir and hanging out with my best friends.

 

How did you get into writing?

I have always loved writing, but I never really started writing for fun until seventh grade. That was when I met one of my current best friends, Parisa (Wattpad user @parisar27). Her openness and love for writing was contagious! I would never have even entered this contest if it weren’t for her! :)

What do you like to write best?

I love to write action! I don’t know why, but it has always come easily to me.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

I love how it is right now! However, young adult fiction can sometimes move too quickly through the coolest parts of the story, which bugs me a bit.

 

Julia, author of ATTACHMENT (Wattpad username: afterlightt)

Mentor: Charlotte Huang, author of FOR THE RECORD, releasing Fall 2015 from Delacorte

julia crews

About me:

My name is Julia, and I am fifteen years old. I love reading and writing, and I hope someday to be a published author. I’m also an editor of my school’s newspaper and a member of a dance company outside of school.

How did you get into writing? 

I’ve always loved reading, but I didn’t start to love writing until middle school. I wrote a piece in memory of my seventh-grade social studies teacher, who passed away the summer before I started eighth grade. My English teacher then sent it out to the other teachers who knew him well. I got all of these letters back from them saying how much they loved the piece. This was the first time I realized that my writing could mean something to other people. This experience inspired me to write more on my own outside of school and I’m glad I did! Since then I’ve written a lot of short stories and even a full-length novel, which I am currently rewriting. This contest was such an amazing opportunity, and I’ve learned so much from my mentor, Charlotte Huang.

What do you like to write best?

I like to write anything with characters that I truly care about. I like getting into the character’s head and writing from another point of view. How a character sees the world is often different from how I see it.

What would you like to see more of in Young Adult fiction?

Definitely more diversity!

 

Aisha R. author of IMAGINE (Wattpad user name: Metaphorphosis)

Mentor: Lee Kelly, author of CITY OF SAVAGES, releasing February 3, 2015, from Simon & Schuster/Saga Press

Aisha

How did you get into writing?

Wow. Big question.

To be honest, I never really thought I ever “got into writing.” It was something inevitable for me, something that I would grow up into, just as a human being grows from speaking child gibberish to articulating their thoughts as an adult.

I have always been a storyteller—was born a storyteller and will always be a storyteller. It’s what I live and breathe twenty-four/seven. As a child, I would press my cousins and friends into make-believe service and force them (though I hope they enjoyed it J) to play in the elaborate story plots and landscapes I’d created in my head, ranging from masquerading as international school spies, to navigating stuffed animal-filled jungles, to pretending to be various types of cells journeying through the human body. It was all that I wanted to do as a kid.

On the days when I didn’t have them around, I would dedicate myself to arts and crafts, cutting out paper dolls and houses and beds and cutlery for the houses and all sorts of little things for me to be able to play make-believe with. Any outlet for enacting the stories in my head was one that I would try my best to explore.

And so it was natural that once I’d learned how to write the most basic sentences needed to convey a story that I would try to write a book. When I was seven, I wrote my first miniature storybook, titled “Minus Mysteries” (a name that I thought was most clever for its alliteration). Once I’d tried out writing a story and had to read it to my sister and parents, I couldn’t get enough. Writing quickly became an obsession. I learned how to type on the computer so that I could make my novels longer and more elaborate. It was the most fun way, I discovered, to delve into my love of storytelling.

When I reached seventh grade, I became serious about pursing writing as something that I wanted to do in my future and began writing full-length novels with intricate plot arcs. When I reached junior year in high school, I began to actually explore the writing industry to see how I could somehow make that dream come true. I’m still on that path to discovery, though I doubt that I will limit myself to just that realm of writing.

Like I said, my greatest love in the world is storytelling—but that’s in all its forms. I’m currently trying to explore another great passion of mine—film—and realize the great dream I have of screenwriting or storyboarding for movies, making the stories in my head actually come to life. It would be an absolute dream come true to work at Pixar or DreamWorks, making infectious, heartfelt animation movies for children.

But that’s another story, for another day. J

What do you like to write best?

Haha, alas . . . I could never tie myself down to one genre. What I prefer to write at this particular moment in time is contingent on so many factors, especially the growth that I am going through as a person. I cannot say whether in the future I would like to delve into adult fiction or literary fiction as a maturing mind, but as of now, I can say what main factors will always exist in the stories that I write.

  • Characters with strong deviations from social, political, and behavioral norms/constrictions in the current society in which they live (funnily enough though, I have yet to write a dystopian piece).
  • Characters with a very defined sense of self that empowers them to move through their stories and the conflicts therein, hopefully empowering both the characters around them and the readers reading.
  • Fully fleshed out characters who are direct human representations, with physical and internal flaws, quirks, and manners of behaving/thinking, that make them that much more relatable to the reader. I need them to be as normal and as far away from “normal” as possible.
  • An intricate plot, created to question and challenge the very core beliefs or self-actualizations of the main characters. A plot that continues to surprise the reader with every turn of the page.
  • Dialogue with a very realistic grounding and thorough emotional link to the readers.
  • An elaborate world constructed on the basis of logic, adventure/allure, and with characteristics intended to bring about change in the reader.
  • Easy communication in understanding, action, plot, characters, dialogue—the whole shebang. I always want the novel to get its point across, mentally and emotionally.
  • And I can’t emphasize this well enough: characters who are human, not 2D representations of ideals, or (unintended) caricatures.

Those characteristics are “what I like to write best.” Although, I’d honestly say that they’re more of what I look for in books while reading; my readers are the ones who can properly say whether or not I’ve even managed to achieve any of these characteristics in my novels. If any novel has these though, I’m good to go—be it a science fiction, fantasy, realistic fiction, romance, dystopian, historical fiction (or any other type of fiction). Right now, I’ll be honest in saying that the main genre where I’ve been able to find, more or less, all of these characteristics is in young adult fiction (simply for the unadulterated emotional translation) and so that’s where my current writing projects tend to house themselves. That might be just a result of where I am age-wise, though.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

Hmm . . . well I guess, first of all—characters who aren’t afraid to be different and be themselves in their differences. It’s a ridiculous notion to divide the spectrum of character traits down the middle and house all of the “preferred” ones with one character (for example, the physical traits of beauty often attributed to the “mean girl’\”) and all of the “negative” ones with another (for example, the traits of instability often ascribed to, say, “emo” characters), when the human race is simply not representative of that. Each human being has their own experiences with perfection, instability, and all other facets of living that make us human.

But too often in literature, especially in commercialized young adult literature, I see this imbalance of personality traits and it honestly drives me further away from connecting on an emotional level with the protagonist/characters of a story. Often, these characters are ones who are a bit too concentrated in certain areas, and that stagnates their growth as human beings in the novel. I abhor seeing the classic young adult stereotypes of the “good girl” and “bad boy” stick figures that have become so commonplace on Wattpad. I have yet to ever meet people like those in real life. It detracts from the life of the characters when they’re made so artificially and superficially. To be honest, the only novel where I’ve completely connected with characters as human beings—human beings who grow and change and act as humanly as possible—is in Harry Potter, and the characters aren’t even technically human!

I feel that we need to achieve that level of realism, especially in some (of my favorite) genres, such as fantasy and science fiction, where so much effort is given to constructing the world that the plain humanness of the characters is left neglected.

Another big turnoff when reading is seeing a fantasy novel cover with a gorgeous girl in a gorgeous dress on the front. It’s the only time when I judge a book by it’s cover because it shows to me, through the psychology of commercialism, exactly what values the novel strives to achieve. And they’re often not in accordance with mine.

So that’s what I’d like to see more of in the YA department—less ideals of humanity and simply more humans.

 

Anne Brees, author of HONESTLY (Wattpad username: AnneBrees)

Mentor: Stacey Lee, author of UNDER A PAINTED SKY, releasing March 17, 2015, from Putnam/Penguin

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About me:

I’m a fourteen-year-old writer who loves hot chocolate, window seats, lame puns, and rainy days.

How did you get into writing?

I’ve always had a story to tell. In elementary school, I filled a little, blue notebook with handwritten stories. By fifth grade, I had created an imaginary, evil twin sister and filled another notebook with all the crazy things she did, robbing a bank included. However, I didn’t begin to write seriously until about a year and a half ago. Through writing, I explore new ideas, sort out my thoughts, and simply escape. When I’m not writing or reading a story, I’m thinking about one.

What do you like to write best?

I’m still experimenting with many genres and I haven’t found my favorite yet. I love all the imagination and freedom that comes with writing dystopian, science fiction, and fantasy. The twisting plots and complex villains of mystery captivate me. A dark contemporary is something I’ve wanted to try. My attempts at writing anything romantic, though, make me cringe. I enjoy bringing diverse characters to life. However, some tend to take over my plot and make decisions about their own fate.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

I want young adult fiction books that are filled with deeper meanings, not superficial clichés. I want to cry over the loss of something beautiful and laugh at the antics of a true friendship. As characters fall in love, I want to fall in love with them. A book should teach me about people and the world around me. It should change the way I think. The best books always make me forget I’m reading and stay with me long after I turn the final page.

 

Christina Im, author of DESTINATA (Wattpad username: wordshipwrecks)

Mentor: Kim Liggett, author of BLOOD AND SALT, releasing Fall 2015 from Putnam/Penguin

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About me:

Christina Im is a wordsmith, armed and dangerous, and a teenager in her spare time. You can visit her online at fairyskeletons.blogspot.com.

How did you get into writing?

I got into writing the way a vast majority of writers do: reading. From the very beginning of elementary school until now, I read so much I thought I would burst, and in third grade, I took up writing. After that year, though, my need to write sort of faded away, and I didn’t really reconnect with it until seventh grade. That year, I halfheartedly participated in the glorious madness that is NaNoWriMo and racked up around 30,000 words on a thoroughly awful middle grade fantasy that I hope never sees the light of day. But that release was what I needed; now I’ve realized how terrifyingly important writing is to me, and I’m trying my darnedest to finish a young adult work in progress called On the Midnight Streets.

What do you like to write best?

Definitely anything with magic in it is very much my style, and I’m much more comfortable in speculative fiction than I am in anything realistic or historical. Magic that evokes strong feelings and makes passions flare up—curses and contracts and the like—is my favorite kind, and what I love most about it is that complicated play between it and the people it affects.

I also like to think that I have sort of a storytelling backbone that runs through all of my writing. Girl power is a big underlying framework for me. Anything feminist. Anything where I can write nuanced female characters who have the courage to be strong and weak in different ways, where I can give girls and women the moral complexities and power they deserve. Anything where I can write positive female friendships. Anything where I can turn any and every archetype or preconception about girls on its head. Retellings of fairy tales and myths work right into this, as well as my love of magic, and predictably, I write a lot of them. I really value aesthetics as well. Everything I write is very deliberately meant to have its own feel and color and taste. For example, “Destinata,” my story in the COMMON ROOM anthology, was written with ash and water and burning sweetness in mind, and I did whatever was in my power to get that visceral, unique combination of sensations across. (This is partly my excuse for using Pinterest so much, but I digress.) On a broader scale, though, the characters are always what get me excited. People and their flaws are my reason for writing.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

I’ve been shouting this out whenever I get the chance: diversity, diversity, diversity. Representation for every minority conceivable. This has only recently become a huge topic of discussion, thanks to the efforts of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, and it’s a cause that’s very close to my heart. The sight of non-majority narratives on bookshelves really is more powerful than any of us can truly understand, and I know for sure, as a Korean person myself, that it’s such a wonderful surprise to find books about other Korean people, simply because it’s such a rare and precious occurrence. I really believe that seeing people in books helps us accept them, so that’s a big thing on my mental YA wish list.

Also, I’m always on the lookout for great speculative fiction. Always.

 

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